Hunter College student from Brooklyn named Rhodes Scholar

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Young woman from Brooklyn among U.S. Rhodes scholars
A.J. Ross has the latest on the Rhode scholar.

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- A young woman from Brooklyn is among the latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars.

Thamara Jean has always had an insatiable desire to learn and a passion to help others through social activism.

"I was always the kid with a book in my hand," Jean explained. "I loved learning through reading."

Double majoring in political science and media analysis at Hunter College, the humble 21-year-old was recently selected from a competitive pool of 866 candidates to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and continue her graduate studies at the University of Oxford.

"While I knew the chances were slim, I went in and was able to have really good conversations with everyone from the Rhodes Trust about what I was passionate about, my opinions on current events, and politics," she said.

The youngest of three credits her hardworking Haitian parents and supportive professors at Hunter for encouraging and supporting her throughout the demanding application process. As one of 10 African Americans selected in the class of 32, she's looking forward to studying abroad and eventually acquiring her PhD.

"I specifically am interested in African American political theory and social justice so a lot of the questions focused on that and we had a really good back and forth about where the country is headed when it comes to those issues," Jean recalled.

"We are so excited at Hunter College to have our first Rhodes Scholar and there could be nobody more deserving and a better first person to receive this honor," Hunter College President Jennifer Raab said. "She's an extraordinary scholar, she's politically committed, she's an activist trying to make the world a better place and her service reputation and the things she does for her community is unparalleled."

While her Thamara's journey is just beginning in many ways she says her thoughts remain with others in the Haitian community with the Trump administration recently announcing an end to their provisional residency protections granted after the 2010 earthquake.

"It definitely sends shockwaves through the community, but I hope a story like mine will be a testament to how much we can invest back into our communities when we're invested in as well," Jean said.